DAVIE — Alterraun Verner had played 22 snaps before Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos.
But when starting cornerback Cordrea Tankersley went down with shoulder and ankle injuries, Verner stepped in and played splendidly, allowing only one catch on four targets during 46 snaps of a crushing victory.
“It went great, since we got the win,” Verner said Thursday. “I was just happy that I was able to step in and contribute toward us getting a win. So you know that’s why I’m here. For those situations. Someone they can rely on. That’s what I pride myself on, just being ready when I’m called.”
Verner has played in every Dolphins game, mostly on special teams, and has missed only two games in his eighth-year career. But Verner hasn’t had an opportunity to start for Miami, beaten out by Byron Maxwell in camp and surpassed by the rookie Tankersley early in the season.
Tankersley did not practice on Thursday, so it’s possible Verner may get the call against New England on Monday night.
“I really haven’t played them much,” Verner said of the Patriots. “Tom Brady is one of the greatest, or the greatest, ever. So you’ve got to bring your ‘A’ game. You’ve got to be on your guy. If the guy is open just a little bit he’s going to find him. And all the guys he has are reliable and catch the ball. And he trusts them. And they trust in their system. We have to execute. We have to be in the places that we need to be at the end. If we have chance to make a play we have to make it.”
Verner said it was tough to see Tankersley injured.
“You don’t want to see anybody get hurt,” he said. “I’ve build such a close relationship with Tank because through training camp we were running with the second group. So we built a good rapport. But I was excited to play against Denver. I was in the same draft class with the two receivers that we played against. So it was fun to go against them.”
Verner said he’s tried to stay ready to play all season.
“That’s the part that’s being a veteran,” Verner said. “I’ve been there. I’ve seen it. You just have to prepare like you’re going to play, even if you’re not playing. Football is a dangerous game. You’ve got injuries. You’ve got all types of things. Somebody could get sick the day before. That’s happened to me before. I’ve had food poisoning. So you just have to have the mentality that you might go at any time. If you have that mentality then you’ll be ready to go whenever.”